I know, such an unusual place for a Jewish family to be. Isn’t it? But, it is true, we are here. Down the heart of Adventist territory, which are the only non-Jews in America that we know of that actually observes Shabbat. Of course, go up a ways to Fort Worth, and you’ll come across Christians pretending to be Jews, the Messianics whose organizational names I won’t waste type printing (lest I inappropriately endorse them), so they don’t count. There is supposed to be Chabad Lubavitch in Fort Worth. Wonder how they deal with all that Christian’s pretending to be Jews stuff in their midst? Yet, never the less, they are too far away to appropriately or regularly associate with other Jewish families.
So, back to my question – Are we the only Jews in Burleson – Cleburne, Texas? Whether they be just religious Jews, either of familial/ancestral descent or of the “converted” to the tribe persuasion (community adopted, literally)? Or, Jews of the “just cultural” secularist Jewish persuasion and lifestyle? Or, maybe, some mix between the two? We do not mean to say in this that the religious Adventists are not enjoyable people to be around. What we mean to say is that they are fascinating with their Christian approach to Torah-based lifestyle, but they are Christians, none-the-less. Which means, simply, they really don’t understand Jewishness, what it means to be a Jew, not even at just the superficial religion-only level. And it’d be nice to have some real Jewish company in this area of Texas! (Though, I must admit, they do have an awesome health food store, in their vegetarian-oriented sort of way, plenty kosher items to choose from!) If there are Jews or Jewish families in this neighborhood – please, let us know, by getting in touch with me on Facebook.
Tsefan Josef is the profile name you’re looking for. We would like to meet you!
Well, it looks like I’ve attempted to answer my own question here. We’ll see if it gets interest over the years, as demographics change.
Kahal Chokhmah v’Da’at
We are a secular humanistic Jewish chavurah deep in the heart of Texas!
SOCIETY FOR HUMANISTIC JUDAISM SUPPORTS IFSHJ STATEMENT: WHO IS A JEW?
Who is a Jew? After more than thirty centuries Jews continue to debate this question.
At stake is the integrity of millions of Jews who do not find their Jewish identity in religious belief or religious practice, but who discover their Jewishness in the historic experience of the Jewish people. At stake also is the Jewish identity of thousands of men and women, in Israel and in other countries of the world, who want to be Jewish, but who are rejected by the narrow legalism of traditional religious authorities.
We, the members of the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews, believe that the survival of the Jewish people depends on a broad view of Jewish identity. We welcome into the Jewish people all men and women who sincerely desire to share the Jewish experience regardless of their ancestry. We challenge the assumption that the Jews are primarily or exclusively a religious community and that religious convictions or behavior are essential to full membership in the Jewish people.
The Jewish people is a world people with a pluralistic culture and civilization all its own. Judaism, as the culture of the Jews, is more than theological commitment. It encompasses many languages, a vast body of literature, historical memories, and ethical values. In our times the shadow of the Holocaust and the rebirth of the State of Israel are a central part of Jewish consciousness.
We Jews have a moral responsibility to welcome all people who seek to identify with our culture and destiny. The children and spouses of intermarriage who desire to be part of the Jewish people must not be cast aside because they do not have Jewish mothers and do not wish to undergo religious conversion. The authority to define “who is a Jew” belongs to all the Jewish people and cannot be usurped by any part of it.
In response to the destructive definition of a Jew now proclaimed by some Orthodox authorities, and in the name of the historic experience of the Jewish people, we, therefore, affirm that a Jew is a person of Jewish descent or any person who declares himself or herself to be a Jew and who identifies with the history, ethical values, culture, civilization, community, and fate of the Jewish people.
IFSHJ Second Biennial Conference
Brussels, October 1988
BECAUSE THIS IS JUST TOO JUICY AND HISTORICALLY ACCURATE TO PASS UP!
The real Yeshua (Jesus Christ) of history, if he ever in fact actually existed beyond the writing of a set of myths
(see photo to right) Definitely not a messiah, or the messiah, by either religious or historical terms. Definitely a charismatic figure, though (if having actually existed), to have gotten a later written legend about him written (and, then, sorely misappropriated and misinterpreted throughout the world over the last two thousand years), and to have gotten himself killed by the Romans for political dissidence.
Now, this is a Jesus that even I can believe might have existed, based upon biblical text and real life historical and archaeological finds. A Palestinian Jew who looks Palestinian, who was a political rebel advocating defiance against Roman tyranny and for Jewish religious law and independence, who was subsequently hung on a cross for that, and referred to “God” as Aalah (Aramaic version of Allah) – and who, by today’s Western xenophobia, would be – yes – on our country’s terrorist watch list. This picture of what Jesus would have looked liked, assuming his existence to have been real, is the most correct representation of this idolized Christian figure I have seen to date. (Keep in mind, there is no mention of a virgin birth in ancient Jewish text, and the representation of “God (in flesh)” in the form of a male or female human is an ancient Jewish and Torah law taboo.)
All believers in a religion want to create “God” in their image. Hence, the emergence of the religions of this planet, born from the imagination and based in the legacy of real (just) “human” historical figures. From the moment it starts, the image of those venerated begins to change to favor the looks, the culture, and the beliefs of those believing. The text develops and is changed accordingly. Religions as present believers experience it is a historically very recent human development, and significantly different from its origins.
Jesus Was Not a White Conservative; Jesus Was a Jewish Palestinian Dissident
Christians believe that Jesus Christ, the son of God, was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem on 25 December. On Christmas, right-wing, racist white Christians throughout the US are celebrating the birth of this guy ….
IN EVERY JEWISH LIBRARY SHOULD BE THE FOLLOWING THREE:
On the top shelf of every Jewish home’s living room or area for ritual and reverence should be the following books side-by-side: The Torah/TaNaKH, which are the mythologized history and originating law codes of our people, preferably only in Hebrew; The Story of the Jews, Finding the Words 1000 BC – 1492 AD, which is the actual archaeological history of our people to the modern present, and how our Israeli nation and Torah historically came about; and My Promised Land, which is the ever presently evolving history of our modern Israel today, the continuing history being written for the enduring ancestral land of our people. All three of these books together side-by-side and all three regularly read in equal reverence for what they teach is the Torah of the Jews!
As Jews, we should strive to know all of it, not just part of it. If we seek to be truly representative of our Jewish ancestors, then we must! Judaism is a national and ethnic way-of-life, more than it has ever been a religion. As it is experienced now, through the Enlightenment Era advent of prayer Judaism (recent in human history), those of us who embrace non-praying (but, still blessing) humanistic focused approaches to Judaism, to our Jewish ethnic way-of-life, will recognize our familiarity with the way-of-life of our ancestors within our families and communities. We truly represent in both ethnic lifestyle and diversity. These three books comprise my top shelf – choose the same, and you’ll know why!